Originally created 10/10/05

Haas wins first Champions Tour title at Greater Hickory Classic



CONOVER, N.C. - Jay Haas rallied with a 7-under 65 Sunday for his first Champions Tour victory, a two-stroke win at the Greater Hickory Classic.

The 51-year-old Haas, who splits time between the PGA Tour and the 50-and-over tour, finished with a tournament-record 16-under 200 at Rock Barn Golf and Spa's Jones Course. He beat the previous mark of 14 under, set last year by Doug Tewell.

The victory ended Haas' 12-year, 302-event winless streak in Tour-sanctioned tournaments.

Second-round leader Dana Quigley finished second after a 2-under 70. Loren Roberts moved into the lead early in the third round, but fell off the pace after a triple bogey at No. 6, finishing third at 203 after a 70.

John Harris (66), Don Pooley (66), Jim Thorpe (67), Jerry Pate (67), Tom Wargo (68), 2003 champion Craig Stadler (68) and Tom McKnight (70) finished at 11 under.

Starting the final round three strokes behind Quigley, Haas had eight birdies, five on the back nine, and a bogey in the final round. He became the sixth first-time winner on the Champions Tour this year and 19th different winner overall.

"Each day, I felt like a left a few (strokes) out there," said Haas, who earned $240,000 for the victory. "But today, I made the putts I needed to make, both the short ones and the ones that really made this round complete."

This year's Classic was the most competitive in the tournament's three-year history, with nine players finishing within five strokes of Haas and 19 others within 10 strokes.

Haas, whose last win came in the 1993 Texas Open, took the lead for good with a birdie on the par-4 16th, and then pulled away with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 17-18.

"It looked like one of those guys would go crazy and run away with it," said Haas, who has played 16 PGA Tour events this season. "When they didn't, that allowed quite a few of us in. I was just the one that made the birdies at the end."

Quigley, a two-time winner this season and the Champions Tour's money leader, faltered in the final round after posting a season-best 64 Saturday.

"I really didn't have it today," Quigley said. "I knew someone was going to jump out and do something, I was just hoping that it would be me those final few holes."

Roberts, who won the Tradition in August, slipped down the leaderboard after making a 7 on the par-4 6th.

"I had one bad swing," Roberts said. "I hit the ball well, but I played poorly. My putter let me down today, just went cold. I couldn't make it from anywhere."

Gil Morgan, who was in a three-player group at 10 under, had the first hole-in-one in the event, acing the 201-yard, par-3 No. 9. It was the 12th hole-in-one on the Champions Tour this season, and the 11th of Morgan's career.